Portuguese tow trucker shot

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He was found slumped in the front seat of his vehicle, his body riddled with bullets. And now police are trying to track down the shooter responsible for ending the life of a 40-year-old tow truck driver on the first day of his new job on Wednesday night.

The shooting has taken place against the backdrop of an escalating turf war among Cape Town’s white and black/coloured-owned tow trucking companies, with both parties claiming they have been threatened with physical violence.

But SA Auto Repairer and Salvage Association (Saarsa) chairman Len Smith said on Thursday it was too early to say whether the murder was connected to the ongoing feud.

“It’s a bit dangerous to comment now because I don’t have all the details. Last week there were threats made against our lives and there were some contractual hits.”

Michael Corriera was an employee of Urban Town, a Paarden Eiland-based company which is part of the Association.

Smith said the company’s owner had called him in tears early on Thursday morning.

“It’s a driver that just started his job (on Wednesday)… He’d just been given that truck.”

Corriera had been parked in Marine Drive at about 11pm on Wednesday. Sources said his friend had gone to check if he wanted any food, but when he arrived he found the body on the front seat.

The shooting took place below one of the city’s security cameras. City safety and security director Richard Bosman said police would usually request footage if it was required.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the incident and asked for anyone with information to contact authorities.

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On Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Corriera’s death, members belonging to Saarsa, which represents several small to medium-sized tow-trucking businesses in the city, visited Dals Motor Group’s workshop in Montague Gardens.

It was the second time they had descended on the business.

Last week, company director Elvin Nel said 40 members of Saarsa had stormed the offices at Montague Gardens. He said many of the members were armed, and some had threatened his staff.

On Dals’ Facebook page, the company thanked its customers and supporters who helped after the “attack on Monday”.

On Wednesday, he said Saarsa planned to “target one of his other properties”. But they again arrived at Montague Gardens at about 1pm. “All clear. They left. No damages and no violence,” wrote Nel in an SMS after their short visit.

Smith told the Cape Argus last week that the row had escalated with the expansion of a company called Cape Road Assist, a new towing brand affiliated with Dals.

He said the rapid expansion of the company had seen it “encroaching on territories”.

He said the towing industry had a salient rule that territories should be respected.

Last week he claimed Dals had put a hit on Saarsa’s leadership. However, Nel quickly denied these claims.

Smith said he would put out an official statement on Corriera’s death on Thursday night

Check out: Cape Argus

By Kieran Legg

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